10 area station questions answered on its twenty fifth anniversary

The International Space Station.

On Monday, the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) marked 25 years because the first module was launched into area.

The Zarya module arrived in low-Earth orbit in November 1998 and was joined by the Unity module lower than a month later.

Throughout 1 / 4 of a century, the orbital outpost has hosted 273 folks from 21 international locations, with the guests engaged on greater than 3,000 analysis and academic investigations.

To mark the station’s twenty fifth birthday, listed below are 11 FAQs in regards to the ISS:

How large is the ISS?

NASA describes it as “bigger than a six-bedroom home.” The ISS truly measures 357 ft (108 meters) from end-to-end, which is in regards to the measurement of an American soccer area. It contains six sleeping quarters, three loos, a fitness center, and quite a few analysis amenities.

How briskly is the ISS touring?

The area station travels at about 17,500 mph (28,000 kph), orbiting Earth each 90 minutes. This implies the crew aboard the station experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets day-after-day. A few of these have been captured in superb time-lapses.

How lengthy do astronauts keep aboard the station?

Astronauts normally keep for about six months, although a couple of come for a shorter time frame whereas others keep for much longer. In October 2023, Frank Rubio returned to Earth after spending 371 days in area — the longest time frame spent in orbit by a NASA astronaut. His mission was initially scheduled to final for six months however a difficulty together with his spacecraft noticed it prolonged to greater than a 12 months.

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What’s the most important variety of folks to have stayed on the ISS at one time?

The station normally hosts round six folks, however a few occasions it’s had as many as 13 on board. That is normally on account of crew changeovers so doesn’t normally final too lengthy.

From the place on the ISS are you able to get the most effective views of Earth?

Due to its seven home windows, the station’s Cupola module gives unparalleled views of Earth. It’s the place astronauts usually go throughout their break day. Some seize a digital camera and document what they see. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, for instance, all the time rigorously researches what a part of the world the ISS will likely be passing over at any given time in order that he can get the most effective photographs.

Has the station ever been in any hazard?

Sure. With a lot area junk orbiting Earth, there’s all the time a danger of a chunk of it hitting the power. It’s out of the best way of most of it, but when a big piece is noticed coming its means, floor controllers can alter the power’s orbit to avoid it. In 2021, the astronauts had been ordered to hunt refuge of their spacecraft for a short while when a cloud of particles was believed to be heading its means. Fortunately, the ISS prevented any injury and everybody on board might keep on as normal.

Are you able to see the ISS from Earth?

Sure, and also you don’t want a telescope and even binoculars to see it. You simply must know when to search for. NASA has helpfully launched an app to make it simple to identify the station because it passes overhead at an altitude of about 250 miles.

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How do astronauts use the toilet?

Astronauts all the time say that that is the query that they get requested probably the most. As you’ll be able to think about, such a activity can’t be carried out within the normal means because of the microgravity situations. To make sure a mess-free go to to the toilet, engineers designed a particular contraption that makes use of a suction tube for urine (which is filtered and recycled for ingesting water) and a small area for depositing stable waste. For a better take a look at how the ISS bathroom works, take a look at this explainer.

Will the ISS keep in orbit for an additional 25 years?

Sadly not. Its ageing design implies that it’s getting tougher and costlier to take care of. The present plan is to proceed working the ISS till 2030. The next 12 months, NASA and its companions will rigorously decrease the orbital facility to some extent the place a lot of it’ll expend because it enters Earth’s environment.

So, will that be it for long-duration stays in area?

Actually not. NASA is already partnering with personal companies to construct new area stations to hold on from the place the ISS left off. A kind of firms is SpaceX, which is working with Los Angeles-based startup Huge and will change into the primary to launch a brand new module as early as 2025. China additionally has taikonauts staying aboard its personal area station in low-Earth orbit, and NASA has plans to construct a base on the moon for lengthy stays by astronauts.

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